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IB - The Biological Perspective

Introduction
The focus of this perspective is the interaction between the physiological and psychological factors that contribute to behavior. Changes in behavior can arise from an interaction of dispositional and environmental factors. Research has frequently, but not exclusively, used the experimental method. Key issues that are relevant to the biological perspective include criticisms that it often involves a reductionist approach and that behavior exhibited by non-human animals is not always relevant to humans. In this unit students will evaluate the relevance of this perspective to modern psychology.

You need to be able to:


Describe and evaluate the cultural context and development, the conceptual framework, the methodology, and the application of the biomedical model. Cultural context and development: - Darwin (Evolution Natural Selection) - Dualism - Later shift from Dualism to Materialism Conceptual Framework (Key Concepts): physiological (biological) concepts affect behavior. Neurotransmitters (excitatory, inhibitory). The Brain (localization of functions). Bodily Rhythms Methodology: Correlational studies, double blind trials, experiments (use of animals and humans = ethically controversial), interviews, case studies and questionnaires. Applications: - comparison with other perspectives - application of genetic research and ethical implications - changes in education, work and therapy.

Describe and evaluate theories and empirical studies within this perspective. Theories: Biological researchers tend to view behavior has purely physical. Their basic assumption is that the brain determines behavior. Dualism the view, first attributed to Descartes, that mind and body are distinct, Descartes believed that the two could interact via the pineal gland in the brain. However, now most psychologist disregard this assumption.

Materialism assumption that all behavior has a physiological basis. The two primary concerns of the biological perspective are the workings of the nervous system, and the role of hereditary on behavior. Assumptions: Materialism (body and mind are the same) All psychological behavior is first physiological (mind appears to reside in the brain, therefore all thoughts, feelings, and behaviors ultimately have a physical/biological cause) Genes have evolved over millions of years to adapt behavior to the environment. Therefore, much behavior will have a genetic basis.

Heredity the biological transmission of characteristics from one generation to the other. This is a main aspect of the biological approach. Natural Selection the evolutionary process by which those random variations within a species which enhance reproductive success lead to perpetuation of new characteristics, in essence, individuals possessing traits which enhance survival and reproduction are likely to have more offspring (Darwin). Empirical Studies: Darwin His theory of natural selection published in his book The Origin of Species (1859) was a major influence on the biological perspective. Darwin was advocating not only the inheritance of characteristics, but also an evolutionary link between humans and all other species. Even though, his theory caused much controversy, it laid the basis for the study of hereditary influences on behavior. 1861 A French doctor, Paul Broca, encountered a case in which a man lost the ability to speak coherently after a head injury. Later, Broca, was able to demonstrate, by post mortem autopsy, that the cause of the mans deficit lay in damage to a specific point in the brain. The proof of this localization of function (connecting a specific behavior to a specific brain area) was crucial to this perspective. Wernicke - Interested in psychiatry, traditionally he studied anatomy
initially and neuropathology later. He published a small volume on aphasia which vaulted him into international fame. In it was precise pathoanatomic analysis paralleling the clinical picture. He is best known for his work on sensory aphasia and poliomyelitis hemorrhagia superior. The aphasia

syndrome, as described by Wernicke in 1908, consists of loss of comprehension of spoken language, loss of ability to read (silently) and write, and distortion of articulate speech. Hearing is intact. Wernicke aimed at a natural system for the classification of mental disorders, chiefly based on the anatomy and pathology of the nervous system. His pattern of thought was based on the concept that psychiatric diseases were caused by disturbances of

the associative system. It was, in other words, a sort of localisation doctrine. 1950s -Sperry severed the optic chiasm (the place where nerve cells from the two eyes cross) and corpus callosum of monkeys. Each eye went to one half of the brain. It proved that each half of the brain became two separate learning centers. Sperry got together people who had their Corpus Callosum split to try and control their sever epilepsy. He showed them different visual stimuli really quickly so only one visual field could take up the information, and then got the patient to identify the word in different ways. He also tried this using touch identification and by showing two different symbols to either visual field. He found that the right visual field was connected to the left side of the brain and vice versa and that the Left side of the brain could write it or say the information, and the right side could identify the information by pointing. Still this gave no indication of what might happen in humans. One obvious difference between primates and people is that monkeys do not speak, and Broca has shown that speech was found in only one hemisphere. Consequently, no one was sure what would happen if the hemispheres were separated in a person. Implications: Support of localization of the brain theory. Mirror sites, connecting to old memories. 1960s In Los Angeles, Philip Vogel was trying to treat patients with a long history of epilepsy. While in many cases epileptics could be treated with anti-seizure drugs, these patients did not respond to the drug treatment. When all treatments failed, Vogel tried a new and radical approach: by cutting the fibres of the corpus callosum, he hoped to restrict the seizure activity to one hemisphere and thus prevent major seizure attacks. While he knew of Sperrys work, and there had been occasional clinical reports of damage to the corpus callosum, no one had purposely separated the hemispheres before. Medically, the treatment worked, and it reduced the frequency of more limited seizures. Initial observations suggested that the patients were normal, everyday actions such as walking and eating seemed to occur naturally. However after further testing, they found that the patients behaved in many ways as if they had two independent streams of conscious awareness, one in each hemisphere, each of with is cut from and out of contact with the mental experience of the other. In other words, two minds functioning separately from each other. To assess the effects of the surgery, the researchers had to use techniques whereby information was presented to only one hemisphere. The simplest case, involved touch: if the split brain person were given an object in there life hand while blindfolded, the left hand could pick it out again, by touch, from a selection of several objects. However, if the right hand attempted to pick out the article previously held in the left hand, it did no better than chance. In the case of vision, the situation is a bit more complicated, because each eye is connected to both hemispheres. The division of visual processing is such that the visual world of both eye is divided in two, so that the objects on the left side of the visual world are seen by the right hemisphere, while objects on the right side are seen by the left hemisphere, regardless of which eye is used. Since only the left hemisphere had language, the split brain person presented with a word or picture on the left side (conveyed to the right hemisphere) could not say what they had seen. The left hemisphere also specializes in logic and math skills. They also discovered that the right hemisphere has musical and spatial abilities which the left hemisphere lacks. However the right hemisphere is not completely ignorant of language because if a split person was presented with a word or picture, it can point to a corresponding word or picture. Thus, if the right hemisphere sees the word key, the left

hand can correctly choose a key.

Explain how cultural, ethical, gender, and methodological considerations affect the interpretation of behavior from a biological perspective. Effectiveness of the perspective in explaining psychological and/or social questions: Comparison with other perspectives on questions such as aggression, gender differences or stress. It addresses the question of gender differences: Nature or nurture? When looking at gender differences it looks at issues such as sex, relationships, eating disorders etc. Eating disorders have many causes, they can be physiological, cultural, emotional. Societys impact on women and the correlation that exists between eating disorders and genders is studied as the great difference from male: to female ratio increases (1:7). Gender: There are a great deal of differences between males and females, in terms of physiology and personality. However, in terms of the brain, there is a distinct difference between the two genders. Females actually have a larger and more developed corpus callosum than men, which suggests that they have better communication between the two sides of the brain. While the male brain is, on average, approximately 10 percent larger than the female brain, females have a larger frontal lobe than men, which might explain the fact that women seem to have a heightened perception of emotions than men. Females have evolved mechanisms that enable them to detect men that will transfer resourced to their offspring (i.e. health and paternal investment). Males, however, have evolved mechanisms that enable them to detect females that promise rapid production of offspring, and disinclination to mate with other men (i.e. health, fertility, and faithfulness). This could explain why men expect women to be faithful, and why women seek out faithful men, however males do not feel compelled to remain faithful to women. Compare theories, empirical studies and the conceptual framework of this model with the other perspectives.
Biological Key terms and concepts: Physiological (biological) concepts affect behavior. Neurotransmitters (excitatory, inhibitory). The Brain (localization of functions). Bodily Rhythms Hormones, Endocrine gland, Drugs, Stress, Sleep, Materialism, Hereditary, Central Psychodynamic Key terms and concepts: archetypes, defense mechanisms, ego, id, superego, psychosexual stages of development, inferiority complex, Oedipal conflict, conscious etc. Learning Key terms and concepts: Reinforcement (positive/negative), operant conditioning, learning, classical conditioning, conditioned response, conditioned stimulus, schedules of reinforcement, shaping etc.

nervous system etc. Key theorists: Sperry, Vogel, Broca, Wernicke Assumptions: Based on the assumption of materialism, which asserts that all behavior has a physiological basis. Genes have evolved over millions of years to adapt behavior to the environment. Therefore, much behavior will have a genetic basis.

Key theorists: Freud, Jung, Adler Assumptions: Attempts to understand behavior in terms of the workings of the mind, with an emphasis on motivation and the role of past experience. Emphasizes the importance of innate drives, the continuity of normal and abnormal behavior and the role of the unconscious mind. By making the assumption of psychic determinism, views all behavior as having a meaning. Methodology: Case studies, interviews

Key theorists: Watson, Skinner, Thorndike Assumptions: Emphasizes the study of observable responses, and rejects attempts to study internal processes like thinking. Focus on learning as a primary factor in explaining changes in behavior. Parsimony: The principle that states that one should always seek the simplest possible explanation for an event. Associationism: Mental processes, particularly learning, are based on forming connections between ideas and/or events. Methodology: Experiments, interviews, surveys, observation

Methodology: Correlational studies, double blind trials, experiments, interviews, case studies and questionnaires.

Identify and explain the strengths and limitations of biological explanations of behavior. Strengths with the biological approach a better understanding of how the brain works has been achieved. Such as with Brocas work, localization of the brain psychologists were able to connect a specific behavior to a specific area of the brain). Also the developments of techniques to study the brain have improved with time. Different techniques are EEG, MRI, CAT scans, PET. The biological perspective has also helped us understand the effect that drugs have in the organism (such as cocaine, alcohol etc) and understand what happens to different areas of the brain and to neurotransmitters. The study of psychoactive (mind affecting) drugs is a concern in both Limitations the biological approach emphasizes getting inside the black box, that is look at internal structure of the organism. However, they do not take in to account outside factors, such as the environment, effect of society, family etc. on behavior. Not every behavior can be explained solely on the brain. Other past experiences can have an effect on our behavior. Such as when trying to understand aggression and why someone might change acquire a violent behavior. The biological perspective proposes that in order for a persons behavior to change drastically, two out of these three things must happen: 1) caused by physical damage to the brain, 2) have a mental disease,

psychology and medicine, and has given rise to a hybrid field called psychopharmacy. This extensive study has helped to understand in depth humans behavior under the influence of drugs. Another strength of this perspective is the understanding of the effects of hormonal change on behavior.

3) or have been abused as a child. This last one however does not seem to go with the perspective since it takes into account past experiences.

Explain the extent to which free will and determinism are integral in this perspective. Free Will: Since this perspective acknowledges the presence of the mind (basic assumption of materialism), and focuses on how processes in the brain account for behavior, it can be assumed that free will is integral to this perspective. However, such theories as those that explain aggression, suggest that there are some behaviors which are hereditary and which we have no control over. Determinism: The biological perspective is deterministic in that it states that certain psychological (personality) traits are pre-determined, or inherited. The emphasis on genetics and the biological basis of behavior makes determinism integral to this perspective.

Explain and evaluate claims that correlates exist between physiological and psychological behavior. Localization of function: it has been determined that certain areas of the brain are primarily used for certain functions and determine specific behaviors. This also allows us to determine the effects of damage on these particular areas of the brain. Discuss controversies surrounding a reductionist approach, as adopted by many biological psychologists. The biological approach can be said to be a reductionist approach because it focuses specifically on neurological processes. It doesnt take other possible explanations of behavior into account, such as cognitive processes (mental models), or the role of the environment.

Historical Development and Cultural Context


A long history of interest in mind-body dilemma The influence of Darwin The development of genetics and scanning technology

Paradigm shift toward the scientific method


The Greeks (Hippocrates and Galen) Early brain research (Broca and Gage) Darwin Gene research (Mendel, Watson & Crick and the Genome project) Brain research (Lesions, Electrical stimulation, ECG, CAT, MRI) Discoveries in medicine and biology (neurotransmitters, Hormones, Drugs) Philosophy (Dualism Vs Materalism)

Allthatispsychologicalisfirstphysiological;behaviorisbiologically determined. Humangeneshaveevolvedovermillionsofyearstoadaptbehaviortothe environment.Therefore,muchbehaviorhasageneticbasis. Psychologyshouldinvestigatethebrain,nervoussystem,endocrinesystem, neurochemistry,andgenes. Animalsmaybestudiedasameansofunderstandinghumanbehavior.

Assumptions

Key Concepts and Ideas

Structure and Function of the Neuron 1. Glial cells Techniques to Learn about Structure and 2. Neurons Function 3. Cell body Measuring Brain Function 4. Dendrites EEG (electroencephalogram) used to 5. Axon study states of arousal sleeping 6. Terminal buttons /dreaming and detect abnormalities and 7. Myelin sheath study cognition. 8. Neurotransmitters PET (positron emission tomography) 9. Acetylcholine color graphics depend on the amount of 10. Dopamine stimulated the hypothalamus to metabolic activity in the imaged brain synthesize hormone region. 11. Serotonin sexual activity, concentration and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) attention show brain at work at higher resolution 12. endorphins than PET = Changes in oxygen in the 13. Reflex Action reflex arc blood of an active brain area. Explore The Endocrine System well-known systems like perception to Endocrine system consists of glands that less understood systems like motivation secrete chemical messengers called and emotion. hormones into your blood. The hormones Organization of Nervous System travel to target organs where they bind to Central nervous system brain and specific receptors. spinal cord Pineal gland, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, Peripheral nervous system somatic thyroid gland, parathyroid, adrenal glands, and autonomic pancreas, ovaries and testes Somatic nervous system motor Genetics and Evolution Psychology neuron stimulate skeletal (voluntary) Nature vs. Nurture muscle. Genetics and Behavior Autonomic neuron that stimulates Heritability Twins smooth (involuntary) and heart muscle. Transmission of hereditary characteristics Autonomic antagonistic sympathetic Chromosome, gene, Turners syndrome, nervous system and parasympathetic Klineflethers syndrome, Down syndromes, nervous system. Spinal Cord The Brain Evolution Three division 1. Reptilian brain maintains homeostasis and instinctive behavior 2. Old mammalian brain limbic system 3. New mammalian brain cerebral cortex 80% of brain volume higher function Split brain

Overview:

Key Theorists and Their Contributions


Hubel and Weisel (Vision)

Hubel & Wiesel inserted microscopic electrodes into the visual cortex of

Roger Sperry (Brain)

Charles Darwin (evolution)

Paul Broca (brain)

experimental animals to read the activity of single cells in the visual cortex while presenting various stimuli to the animal's eyes. They found a topographical mapping in the cortex, i.e. that nearby cells in the cortex represented nearby regions in the visual field, i.e. that the visual cortex represents a spatial map of the visual field. Roger Wolcott Sperry (August 20, 1913 April 17, 1994) was a neuropsychologist, neurobiologist and Nobel laureate who, together with David Hunter Hubel and Torsten Nils Wiesel, won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with split-brain research. In his Nobel-winning work, Sperry separated the corpus callosum, the area of the brain used to transfer signals between the right and left hemispheres, to treat epileptics. Sperry and his colleagues then tested these patients with tasks that were known to be dependent on specific hemispheres of the brain and demonstrated that the two halves of the brain may each contain consciousness. In his words, each hemisphere is the lateralization of brain function. His 1859 book On the Origin of Species established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. He examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Broca is most famous for his discovery of the speech production center of the brain located in the ventroposterior region of the frontal lobes (now known as the Broca's area). He arrived at this discovery by studying the brains of aphasic patients (persons with speech and language disorders resulting from brain injuries), particularly the brain of his first patient in the Bictre Hospital, Leborgne, nicknamed "Tan" due to his inability to clearly speak any words other than "tan".

.PierrePaulBroca,FlourensandLashley,FredGage,JoeMartinez,Sperry&Gazzaniga,Hobson&McCarley,
SimonLeVay,Bailey&Pillard,W.Greenough,SaulSchanberg,ERoyJohn,TiffanyField.

Attitude Toward Determinism

Behavior is mainly determined (genetically and environmentally). People have no choice over heredity or environment and these factors interact to produce behavior. Biological approaches to psychology look at the deterministic influence of genetics, brain structure and biochemistry. Sociobiologists investigate evolutionary determinism.

Methods

Invasive vs. non-invasive techniques. Invasive techniques, such as split brain studies are not only unethical, but leave patients in what can be considered a worse condition than their previous one. Although when the corpus callosum was cut on severe epileptics, their seizures stopped, but so did the communication between left and right brain. These techniques are dangerous and messy. Non-invasive techniques, however, such as MRI, CAT scans, or PET scans, are safer, and are a lot more helpful in determining areas of the brain which may be malfunctioning. Correlational studies, double blind trials, experiments (use of animals and humans = ethically controversial), interviews, case studies and questionnaires.

CorrelationalStudies QuasiExperiments&NaturalExperiments Twinresearch(atypeofcorrelationalresearch) Experimentation Labresearchvs.naturalisticresearch Reliabilityandvalidityofresearch Ethicalconsiderations

comparison with other perspectives - application of genetic research and ethical implications - changes in education, work and therapy.

Ethical Issues

Evaluation of the Strengths and Weaknesses


Theapproachisveryscientific,and thusisreliable. Practicalapplicationshavebeen extremelyeffective.

ReductionistBiopsychologicaltheories oftenoversimplifythehugecomplexity ofphysicalsystemsandtheirinteraction withtheenvironment. Ithasnotexplainedhowmindandbody interactconsciousnessandemotionare difficulttostudyobjectively.

Key Terms
action potential all-or-none law Alzheimer's disease curare dendrites end bulbs glial cells ions tiny electrical current that is generated when positive sodium ions rush inside the axon if an action potential starts at the beginning of an axon, it will continue to very end of axon incurable, fatal disease involving brain damage, with memory loss, deterioration of personality a drug that enters bloodstream and blocks receptors on muscles, causing paralysis branchlike extensions that arise from cell body and receive and pass signals to cell body miniature containers at extreme ends of axon branches; store chemicals called neurotransmitters brain cells that provide scaffolding, insulation, chemicals to protect and support neuron growth chemical particles that have electrical charges; opposite charges attract and like charges repel a drug that causes arousal, visual hallucinations; acts like neurotransmitter norepinephrine asks how complex mental activities can be generated by physical properties of the brain series of separate action potentials that take place segment by segment down length of axon brain cell with specialized extensions for receiving and transmitting electrical signals chemical keys with a particular shape that only fits a similarly shaped chemical lock or receptor branchlike extensions that arise from cell body and receive and pass signals to cell body vivid experience of sensations and feelings coming from a limb that has been amputated an unlearned, involuntary reaction to some stimulus; prewired by genetic instructions process of removing neurotransmitters from synapse by reabsorbtion into terminal buttons sodium pump a chemical process responsible for keeping axon charged by returning sodium ions outside axon autonomic nervous system central nervous system cerebellum cortex endocrine system fight-flight response forebrain frontal lobe a relatively large cortical area at the front part of the brain; involved in many functions; like an executive gene gonads homeostasi s limbic system MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) occipital lobe parietal lobe peripheral nervous system PET scan (positron emission tomography ) somatic nervous system a specific segment on the strand of DNA that contains instructions for building the brain and body glands (ovaries in females, testes in males) that regulate sexual development and reproduction keeping the bodyUs level of arousal in balance for optimum functioning core of the forebrain; involved in many motivational behaviors and with organizing emotional behaviors passing nonharmful radio frequencies through brain and measuring how signals interact with brain cells core of the forebrain; involved in many motivational behaviors and with organizing emotional behaviors located directly behind the frontal lobe; its functions include the sense of touch, temperature, and pain all nerves that extend from the spinal cord and carry messages to and from muscles, glands, sense organs measuring a radioactive solution absorbed by brain cells; shows the activity of various neurons a network of nerves that connect either to sensory receptors or to muscles you can move voluntarily regulates heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, other mainly involuntary movements made up of the brain and spinal cord; carries information back and forth between brain and body located at back of brain; involved in coordinating (but not in initiating) voluntary movements a thin layer of cells covering the entire surface of the forebrain; folds over on itself to form a large area a system of glands which secrete hormones that affect organs, muscles, and other glands in the body a state of increased physiological arousal that helps body cope with and survive threatening situations the largest part of the brain; has right and left sides (hemispheres) responsible for many functions

mescaline mind-body question nerve impulse neuron neurotransmit ters Parkinson's disease phantom limb reflex reuptake

stereotaxic procedure synapse autonomic nervous system central nervous system cerebellum

fixing a patientUs head in a holder and drilling a small hole through the skull; syringe guided to a rain area very small space between terminal button and adjacent dendrite, muscle fiber, or body organ regulates heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, other mainly involuntary movements made up of the brain and spinal cord; carries information back and forth between brain and body located at back of brain; involved in coordinating (but not in initiating) voluntary movements a thin layer of cells covering the entire surface of the forebrain; folds over on itself to form a large area a system of glands which secrete hormones that affect organs, muscles, and other glands in the body a state of increased physiological arousal that helps body cope with and survive threatening situations the largest part of the brain; has right and left sides (hemispheres) responsible for many functions

temporal lobe amygdala homeostasi s limbic system MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) occipital lobe parietal lobe peripheral nervous system PET scan (positron emission tomography ) somatic nervous system temporal lobe

involved in hearing, speaking coherently, understanding verbal and written material involved in forming, recognizing, and remembering emotional experiences and facial expressions keeping the bodyUs level of arousal in balance for optimum functioning core of the forebrain; involved in many motivational behaviors and with organizing emotional behaviors passing nonharmful radio frequencies through brain and measuring how signals interact with brain cells core of the forebrain; involved in many motivational behaviors and with organizing emotional behaviors located directly behind the frontal lobe; its functions include the sense of touch, temperature, and pain all nerves that extend from the spinal cord and carry messages to and from muscles, glands, sense organs measuring a radioactive solution absorbed by brain cells; shows the activity of various neurons a network of nerves that connect either to sensory receptors or to muscles you can move voluntarily involved in hearing, speaking coherently, understanding verbal and written material

cortex endocrine system fight-flight response forebrain

frontal lobe gene gonads

a relatively large cortical area at the front part of the brain; involved in many functions; like an executive a specific segment on the strand of DNA that contains instructions for building the brain and body glands (ovaries in females, testes in males) that regulate sexual development and reproduction

1. EXAM SHORT ANSWER and ESSAY QUESTIONS


a. Describe one theoretical explanation of behavioural change in humans based on the biological perspective. [4 marks] b. Explain the strengths and limitations of the explanation of behaviour described in part (a). [4 marks]
May 2003

2. Explain and evaluate claims that correlates exist between physiological


processes and psychological behaviour. [20 marks] psychologists is controversial. [8 marks]
Nov 2003 May 2003

3. Explain why a reductioninst approach adopted by many biological 4. Behavioural change can be regarded as arising from an interaction
between innate disposition and environmental factors. Describe and evaluate theories or studies within the biological perspective related to this statement. [20 marks] Nov 2003

5. a. Outline what is meant by the reductionist approach. [2 marks] b. Explain how one theory or empirical study from the biological perspective demonstrates a reductionist approach. [6 marks]
May 2004

6. Discuss how ethical and methodological considerations affect the


interpretation of behaviour from a biological perspective. [20 marks]
May 2004

7. Outline historical or cultural considerations that have given rise to the


biological perspective. [8 marks]
Nov 2004

8. Discuss strengths and limitations of research methods used within the


biological perspective. [20 marks] marks] 10. a. Describe assumptions on which key concepts from the biological perspective are based. [10 marks] b. Evaluate the assumptions described in part (a). [10 marks]
May 2005 May 2005 Nov 2004

9. Explain how determinism relates to the biological perspective. [8

11. Identify and explain one contribution of the biological perspective to


the scientific study of behaviour. [8 marks]
Nov 2005

12. Identify one key concept from the biological perspective and discuss its
contribution to the understanding of behaviour. [20 marks]
Nov 2005